Luke 12 and the church parking lot

I noticed some things that never occurred to me before in Luke 12.  I thought I’d share some of them. 

“1Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

I’d always thought this was Jesus sharing little pieces of happiness and joy with us.  And as always, he partially is.  If we are saying things we should be proud of in private, we can look foreward to these coming true.

But there’s a different spin to all this.  I don’t think it’s an accident that Luke observes that the crowd begins to trample on one another.  And then the first thing out of Jesus mouth?  Call it encouragement, call it a warning, whatever.  But it’s a promise that who we really are on the inside will be known. 

If we’re the sort-of person who behaves himself even in the annyonomity of a crowd: it’ll be known.

If we’re the sort-of person who jostles and tramples others: that too, will be known.

It seems to me that there couldn’t be a more direct paralell to that thing so many of us (myself included) wrestle with, where we leave the church, and we’re not even out of the parking lot, and we’re already starting to struggle with acting Christ-like.

It’s like Jesus says “Today, you can hide behind your tinted windows.  But some day everybody will know.”

I’d always taken these verses to indicate that the docrtinal statements we hold in our quiet little meetings will someday be broadcast to the world.  The more I read, pray, and understand, though, the more I see this pattern.

We have this tendency to presume or project that the important thing is head knowledge.  We emphasize the content of our thoughts.  Over and over again, it seems to me that Jesus’ real intent and meaning was about heart knowledge.  There’s probably a whole lot in this realization about the modern/post-modern split, but that, I suppose, is another post.



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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Luke 12 and the church parking lot”

  1. hey Jeff,

    True Colors.

    i read the rest of Luke 12 after i read your post. i don’t know if you stopped and pondered after the first few verses, but there’s a tremendous amount of revelation in this chapter – many hard truths. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (v 34) is one of my faves. So is v9-10 which suggest a profound distinction between the relationship of Christ with man and the HS with man – much to ponder indeed.

    This is what i love about Scripture; the reader can’t honestly walk away from it and say, “I’m okay”. One is forced to say either that Jesus is full of crap, or they are. Sometimes i grow weary of being the one full of it, but hey, it’s a small price to pay.


  2. It’s funny you mention the rest of Luke 12. I’ve got half a post written around the idea that I’d always viewed Jesus’ various statements in it in isolation from each other. But there actually is a flow, especially if you begin with the premise that Jesus is criticizing his listeners. (His listeners, as well, including us.)
    I think you’re absolutely right to notice that there are lots of hard truths in here. I’ll look foreward to your insight.


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